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WELS Tutor Awards 2023

Three star shaped glass trophies, overlaid with the text WELS Tutor Awards 2023

The OU’s tutors, also known as Associate Lecturers (ALs), provide essential support and guidance that enable students to succeed. Every year the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) celebrates those tutors that have gone above and beyond what is expected of them, via the WELS Tutor Awards, which give students the opportunity to recognise the dedication and skill of their tutors.

Dr Claire Saunders, WELS Associate Dean- Students and Teaching, said, “We celebrate the commitment and success of our students; it’s only right to acknowledge the tutors who have supported them, and many, many more, to navigate challenges, both academic and personal, to help them progress and achieve. They are the face of the OU, and responsible for changing the lives of many. We thank the winners for their contributions and extend our gratitude and admiration to all of our tutors.”

This year, for the first time, there were two award categories: Academic Support for Retention, and Inclusive Teaching. Students submitted nearly 400 nominations across the categories, for more than 250 tutors.

Student nominations spoke of the compassion and support they received from their tutors, expressing their gratitude for the motivation they received, and recognising the difference their tutors have made to their OU journey. One student described their tutor as “the saint I’ve needed throughout this year” with another describing theirs as “an absolute delight”.


Academic Support for Retention

The Academic Support for Retention celebrates tutors who have gone above and beyond to provide academic support that has led to more students remaining at the OU, continuing to their next modules, or progressing into better employment. Ten tutors won awards, with 17 highly commended and a further 30 commended.

Here’s what some of their students said:


Amanda Manouvrier, School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care (HWSC)
Amanda was very quick to answer questions or give support. She was compassionate and encouraged me to keep going.

She has made me feel positive about myself and has brought up my self-esteem in encouraging me to use my strengths in difficult times. I am eternally grateful for her experience and support she has given me in the past year.

Amanda said: “I have been an AL with WELS since 2020, teaching across the nursing curriculum and also a Health and Social Care module. I also work as a nurse in the NHS and I am constantly in awe of the dedication of our student nurses, as they juggle work, study and life. That some of my students should take the time to nominate me for this award is truly humbling. I work with a fantastic, friendly and supportive team at WELS who make my job an absolute delight, as do my students. I feel very honoured to have won this award.”


Dave Tyler, School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS)
Dave made me feel welcome from the start, and motivated me to soar through the module.

Dave has inspired me to actively pursue becoming a teacher. I am now embarking on a level two module as a result of Dave’s inspiration.
I cannot sing Dave's praises enough and I will miss having him as a tutor next year. Everyone should be more Dave!

Dave said: It has been a privilege to have been an AL, a role I have always enjoyed. I still have a sense of personal agency with which to develop purposeful relationships with students, many of whom are extremely resourceful and juggling busy lives. I am very grateful to the students who have taken the time to nominate me. It means a lot.


Lisa Rogers, HWSC
Lisa has been a great support, educationally and emotionally. She has been a great help, kind, empathetic, patient and available. I honestly don’t think I’d have got this far without her.

Lisa helped me to believe in myself…I passed year 1 and am half-way through year 2 now, using the tips and self-help strategies Lisa taught me.

Lisa added: “I was surprised by the award! I am proud of being able to support students through challenging times to not only stay on programme but flourish and succeed as a nurse and nursing associate.”


Max Maxwell (ECYS and HWSC)
I felt that Max was dedicated to our studies and wanted us to do well. Max genuinely made studying more enjoyable. You can tell he is passionate about what he is teaching us which really makes a huge difference in how us as students perceive the course. Thank you, Max!
Max commented: “Great to know that second-time students, stayed the course with me!”.


Rowena Seabrook, School of Languages and Applied Linguistics (LAL)
Rowena invited input from students in advance of tutorials so that she could engage with specific questions or issues that we were facing- and then invited feedback as to how she could improve her tutorials for us. This meant that we felt heard and made remote learning a better experience.

Rowena said: “I feel very privileged to work with our students at the OU so it is an honour to read the comments from those who kindly nominated me. It means a great deal to me to know that students feel supported as I love playing even a small part in helping them enjoy their studies and achieve their aspirations.”


Inclusive Teaching

The Inclusive Teaching award recognises those tutors who have gone the extra mile to improve the student community and develop a sense of belonging, so that all students feel welcome and included. Four tutors won awards, with nine highly commended and a further 24 commended.

Here’s what some of their students said:


Catherine Hamilton, School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care (HWSC)
Catherine created an enriching learning environment that widened our understanding and opened the door to thoughtful conversations…Her constant engagement with students, both inside and outside the classroom, has fostered a strong sense of community that transcends the academic realm.


Megan Jones, School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS)
Megan is so supportive and very caring! She took the time to get to know us and made us all feel like a family who all belonged! No request was ever too big.

Megan gave me all the support physically possible! Megan was great at creating an enjoyable atmosphere and made our seminars informative and enjoyable.

Megan commented: “Thank you ever so much to the students who took the time to nominate me for the Inclusive Tutor award. Winning the award was the icing on the cake after the graduation of my first cohort of students at the OU. I felt like a proud child in a school assembly being awarded with a da iawn/well done certificate! This award is really special to me- diolch yn fawr”.


Sheila Bell, School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care (HWSC)
Sheila truly got to know me as an individual. In an environment where we are behind screens, Sheila knows how to build rapport with each of us and get us engaged in the lessons. The module came at a time where I was doubting my abilities and her care and nurture set me on the right path. Sheila's approach and genuine care for us as made me feel valued and built my self-confidence.

Sheila added: “I was completely shocked but incredibly delighted to be nominated by my student nurses for an award. It is such a rewarding and worthwhile experience to watch their confidence blossom and to build a relationship with them. The award ceremony was wonderful and made me feel very emotional. Thank you to the OU for allowing me to be part of such a special and supportive team.”


Rosemary Dymond, Access modules
I really benefited from Rosemary’s approach to tutoring and I honestly owe the fact I completed the module at all, let alone passed, to her.
Rosemary felt like a friend and not just my tutor, she was stern, very professional and supportive. She helped me find the confidence in myself when I lacked it.

Rosemary said: “I am truly honoured to be recognised. My award reflects the success and dedication of the wonderful students. We’re in this together - I want students to succeed as much as they do.”


Please note- only those winning tutors who have agreed to external publicity have been included within this article.


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